Arsenal’s injury problems continue to deepen after it emerged on Monday that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be sidelined for the rest of the festive period as well as January after breaking a bone in his foot.
The Armenian midfielder was replaced at half-time during the 2-0 Carabao Cup defeat by Tottenham Hotspur last week, and after undergoing a scan it’s been revealed that he has fractured a metatarsal in his right foot that will require six weeks of rehabilitation before returning to action.
It means that Mkhitaryan, who turns 30 years old next month, will miss the Boxing Day trip to Brighton and Hove Albion as well as the visit to Liverpool next Saturday, along with premier League games in January against Fulham, West Ham, Chelsea and Cardiff City, and is likely to be a doubt for the 3 February encounter against reigning champions Manchester City.
He will also miss the FA Cup third round encounter with Blackpool on 5 January and, should they emerge victorious, the fourth round that takes place on the weekend of 25-27 January.
Mkhitaryan joins a lengthy injury list that is causing manager Unai Emery plenty of unwanted problems, although most of those are due to the defensive crisis he has on his hands. Emery was already without Shkodran Mustafi, Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny and Rob Holding for Saturday’s victory over Burnley.
Yet the Spaniard was forced to replace Nacho Monreal during the first-half, with the left-back set to undergo a fitness test on a tight right hamstring before making a decision on whether he can face Brighton.
Mustafi looks unlikely to feature against the Seagulls, although Laurent Koscielny should return to the squad, and Emery hopes to have the former back in full training by the end of the week.
Both Holding and Danny Welbeck remain the two long-term absentees, with neither expected to play again this season after undergoing surgery.